Uninstalling Windows SharePoint Services

There are different degrees to which you can uninstall Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services. Depending on your needs, you can choose from the following options:

You can choose to remove Windows SharePoint Services, but keep the site content in the content databases (content database: The Microsoft SQL Server or WMSDE database that contains the content for one or more SharePoint sites.). This allows you to extend (extend: To apply Windows SharePoint Services to a virtual server.) the virtual server again later and reconnect to the site content. If you leave the content databases intact, you can reconnect to them, from the same virtual server or from a different virtual server, and continue hosting the site content using the same Uniform Resource Locator (URL) (Uniform Resource Locator (URL): An address that specifies a protocol (such as HTTP or FTP) and a location of an object, document, World Wide Web page, or other destination on the Internet or an intranet. Example: http://www.microsoft.com/.). Use this method to temporarily remove and then restore a virtual server, or to change which virtual servers are hosting which content in a server farm (server farm: A centralized grouping of network servers maintained by an enterprise or, often, an Internet service provider (ISP). A server farm provides a network with load balancing, scalability, and fault tolerance.) setting.

  • Remove Windows SharePoint Services from a virtual server and delete the site content.

You can choose to remove Windows SharePoint Services and delete the site content in the database. Use this method to remove a virtual server permanently, but continue using Windows SharePoint Services on other virtual servers. For example, use this method if you are finished with a project and no longer need the associated Web sites.

When you use this method, you cannot reconnect to the site content later. If you choose to delete the content databases, you are permanently deleting the site content, and cannot recover the site data except from a backup.

  • Uninstall Windows SharePoint Services completely from a server.

You can choose to uninstall Windows SharePoint Services by using the Add/Remove Programs control panel. This method does not delete site content. You can reinstall and reconnect to the site content. Use this method to repair an installation or to remove a Web front-end server from a server farm.

All of these methods leave the virtual server or server in a clean state, ready to be used for other Web sites or applications; however, each method affects the content and configuration database (configuration database: The Microsoft SQL Server or MSDE database that contains the configuration information that applies across all servers in a deployment of Windows SharePoint Services, such as virtual server information.) in a different way. The following table explains what happens when you use each of these remove or uninstall methods.

Method What happens to the databases Actions during removal
Remove and preserve content

The content databases associated with the virtual server remain untouched. You can reconnect to the site content.

The entry for the virtual server remains in the configuration database.

The Windows SharePoint Services Internet Server Application Programming Interface (ISAPI) (Internet Server Application Programming Interface (ISAPI): A Web server application-development interface, developed by Process Software and Microsoft, that can be used in place of CGI.) filter is uninstalled, and the virtual directories for Windows SharePoint Services are removed from the virtual server.

Any physical directories created by Windows SharePoint Services under the physical home directory of the virtual server are removed.

The Port section in the registry for the virtual server is removed. This means that any managed paths and any URL mapping are removed.

Remove and delete content

The content databases are deleted. You cannot reconnect to the site content.

The entry for the virtual server is removed from the configuration database.

The Windows SharePoint Services ISAPI filter is uninstalled, and the virtual directories for Windows SharePoint Services are removed from the virtual server.

Any physical directories created by Windows SharePoint Services under the physical home directory of the virtual server are removed.

The Port section in the registry for the virtual server is removed. This means that any managed paths and any URL mapping are removed.

Uninstall The content and configuration databases associated with the server remain untouched. You can reinstall Windows SharePoint Services later and reconnect to databases. If you do not want to reconnect, you can delete the databases by using the Microsoft SQL Server computer (SQL Server computer: A computer running Microsoft SQL Server with a configured database.) or Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (Windows) (Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (Windows) (WMSDE 20) (Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (Windows) (WMSDE): A version of MSDE 2000 designed specifically for Windows SharePoint Services.)) database administration tools.

Windows SharePoint Services is removed from any virtual servers.

The Windows SharePoint Services administration virtual server is removed.

The Windows SharePoint Services DLL files are removed from the installation directory.

Removing Windows SharePoint Services from a Virtual Server

You can remove Windows SharePoint Services from a virtual server by using HTML Administration or the command line administration tool. Both of these tools allow you to either preserve or delete content when you remove Windows SharePoint Services.

Removing Windows SharePoint Services from a Virtual Server by Using HTML Administration

To remove Windows SharePoint Services from a virtual server by using HTML Administration, you use the Remove Windows SharePoint Services from Virtual Server page.

Remove Windows SharePoint Services from a virtual server
  1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Administrative Tools, and then click SharePoint Central Administration.
  2. On the Central Administration page, under Virtual Server Configuration, click Configure virtual server settings.
  3. On the Virtual Server List page, select the virtual server you want to configure.
  4. On the Virtual Server Settings page, under Virtual Server Management, click Remove Windows SharePoint Services from Virtual Server.
  5. On the Remove Windows SharePoint Services from Virtual Server page, select one of the following:
    • Remove without deleting content databases

This removes only the Windows SharePoint Services folders from the virtual server — the content database remains intact, so you can reconnect to it later using the same virtual server or a different one.

  • Remove and delete content databases

This both removes the Windows SharePoint Services folders from the virtual server and deletes the content database. You will not be able to reconstruct the sites previously stored on that virtual server unless you have a backup.

  1. Click OK.

Removing Windows SharePoint Services from a Virtual Server by Using the Command Line

You can use the unextendvs operation with the Stsadm.exe command line utility to remove Windows SharePoint Services from a virtual server. The unextendvs operation takes the -url parameter and the optional -deletecontent parameter. When you use unextendvs without the -deletecontent parameter, it leaves the content databases in place, so that you can reconnect to the content for a virtual server. When you include the -deletecontent parameter, the content databases are removed and the virtual server is removed from the configuration database.

For example, to remove Windows SharePoint Services from a virtual server, but preserve the content databases, use the unextendvs operation with syntax like the following:

stsadm -o unextendvs -url http://servername

To remove Windows SharePoint Services from a virtual server and remove the content databases permanently, use the unextendvs operation with syntax like the following:

stsadm -o unextendvs -url http://servername -deletecontent

When you use the unextendvs operation with the -deletecontent parameter, you cannot reconnect to the site content later.

Uninstalling Windows SharePoint Services from the Server Computer

 Note   You must be an administrator on the server computer to uninstall Windows SharePoint Services.

If you want to remove Windows SharePoint Services from a server computer entirely, you can uninstall by using the Add or Remove Programs control panel. Uninstalling Windows SharePoint Services does not remove any chained products that were installed, such as WMSDE. You must uninstall these programs separately.

Uninstall Windows SharePoint Services
  1. On the server computer, click Start, click Control Panel, and then click Add or Remove Programs.
  2. Select Windows SharePoint Services, and then click Remove.

When you use the Add or Remove Programs control panel to remove Windows SharePoint Services from a server, it calls a command-line operation, stsadm -o uninstall, to perform the task. The uninstall operation does not remove any chained products that were installed. The uninstall operation takes the optional -deletecontent parameter. When uninstall is used without the -deletecontent parameter, it leaves the content and configuration databases in place, so that Windows SharePoint Services can be reinstalled, and you can reconnect to the databases and continue hosting sites. When the -deletecontent parameter is used, the content and configuration databases are removed, and you cannot recover the site content.